Wrightsville Beach speckled trout bite is revving up

speckled trout
Big speckled trout really put on their feed bags in November as water temperatures drop into the 50s. (Photo by Craig Holt)

November brings out the big speckled trout

With recent trends moving toward warmer-than-usual temperatures later in the fall, November is a great time to fish for large speckled trout along North Carolina’s coast.

“There aren’t as many little trout in November,” said Jot Owens, a Wrightsville Beach-based guide. “Size is a seasonal thing, and that means anywhere you fish for trout these days.

“We catch the biggest trout of the year during November, sometimes 8- and 9-pounders. A couple years ago, the second week of November, we caught two 8¾-pounders and a 9½.”

Water depths and clarity, plus different venues from spring and summer, are the key components in finding trout bites in November.

“I’ll fish in 6 to 12 feet of water and target bigger creeks leading to inlets and at inlets,” said Owens (910-233-4139).

Best water temperatures to activate the trout bite are 60 degrees falling to 54 as winter approaches.

“November water usually is in that range, and you can catch trout into December,” he said. “But once it falls below 52 degrees, I fish for stripers.”

Artificial lures are highly effective in November

Owens also likes to target specks during falling tides at inlets and bigger creeks leading to inlets.

“I like the last couple of hours of falling tide and concentrate on deeper ledges at inlets,” Owens said.

With their main food, finger mullet, often absent by November, specks target little green shad, pinfish, small spots and the occasional menhaden, if they’re still present. Trout eat shrimp any time.

However, Owens doesn’t use live bait.

“Mostly, I fish artificial lures,” he said.

His favorite hard baits include 2½ – to 3-inch MirrOlure 17MRs and Catch 22 Juniors — or suspending, bone-colored twitch baits.

“In clear, cleaner water I use pink, chartreuse and white colors,” Owens said. “Closer to river systems where water is darker, I throw MirrOlures in the 808 Halloween shade (orange belly gold sides and black back) colors.”

At inlets with deeper water and current where trout gather on the bottom and cranking lures aren’t effective, he bottom bumps 1/8- to 1/4-ounce jigheads and soft-plastic grubs.

“You want just enough weight to let lures fall slowly,” Owens said. “Trout always hit soft-plastic jigs on the fall.”

His most effective trout rigs include 3-inch PowerBait Ripple Shad and Pro Twitchtail Minnows and 3-inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp.

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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